Investigators suspect a State-wide racket
PATHANAMTHITTA: The spurious version of a life-saving drug, Meronem, in seven vials was seized from the store of a private hospital at Mulakkuzha, near Chengannur, on Thursday, said a team from the intelligence wing of the Drugs Control Department.
The officials told The Hindu that the store was raided followed a tip-off from the multinational company AstraZeneca.
The hospital authorities had been suspicious of the genuineness of the drug and did not administer it to any patients, said Shaji Varghese, drug inspector and team member.
AstraZeneca has the marketing rights for Meronem in India, which is licensed from Sumitomo Pharma Co. Ltd. in many countries outside Japan.
Mr. Varghese said Meronem was an ultra-broad spectrum injectible antibiotic used for a wide range of serious infections, such as meningitis and pneumonia. The maximum retail price of a vial was Rs.2,496.
The packing of the original medicine was not found in the spurious versions, he said.
The stockist of the drug is at Thammanam in Ernakulam and the name, Super Stockist, and address have been found bogus in the investigation, officials said.
The raid party found the house of Sankarankutty, who allegedly supplied the drug, at Malakkara locked on Thursday and it was broken open with police assistance on Friday, after obtaining permission from the Judicial First Class Magistrate’s Court, Pathanamthitta. The officials said incriminating evidence had been found from the house.
Official sources said the seizure hinted at a bigger racket involved in the sale of spurious drugs in the State and the investigation would be extended to other parts of the State on a war footing. The issue involves violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The FIR on the raid would be filed in court on Saturday, Mr. Varghese said.